Faced with the potential of a 50-percent drop-off in Red Kettle campaign revenue — some $60-plus million — The Salvation Army is hoping for a Christmas miracle and starting the annual campaign early this year for the first time in 130 years.
The Alexandria, Va.-headquartered charity hopes to make up for potential losses due to COVID-19, coupled with a soaring need for services. Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, The Salvation Army officials estimated that the organization could serve up to 155 percent more people this year with Christmas assistance. That includes food, paying bills, providing shelter and helping to obtain gifts.
Since the pandemic was declared in March, the charity has provided more than 100 million meals, 1.5 million nights of safe shelter, and emotional and spiritual support to more than 800,000 people. At the same time, due to closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traffic, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50-percent drop in funds from Red Kettles. Last year, $126 million was raised during a season when there were six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In recent years, The Salvation Army has typically kicked off the Red Kettle campaign during halftime of the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day football game. The campaign usually runs through the holiday season, raising as much as $140 million in recent years.
In addition to the iconic Red Kettles, The Salvation Army is accepting donation through a variety of channels:
- A sustaining monthly gift of $25 enlists a donor into Love’s Army
- Donate digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay
- Ask Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specify an amount
- Text “KETTLE” to 91999
“Our ability to raise vital funds to serve those in need this Christmas and beyond is at risk,” Commissioner Kenneth Hodder, national commander of The Salvation Army, said via a press release. “We need everyone who has the capacity to come alongside us and ensure that the holiday season is bright for millions. We’re asking you to help rescue Christmas with us by providing support in any way you can. Our hope is to offset these challenges to meet the increasing demand for services across our nation,” he said.